LAND ROVER AFRICA CUP 2015 TO FEATURE THE CONTINENT’S TOP POLO TEAMS
Ghana, Uganda, Kenya, Nigeria, Zimbabwe, Egypt and South Africa
16 August, Inanda Club, Sandton
Set to be one of the most thrilling events on the equestrian calendar, the Land Rover Africa Cup Tournament will boast an impressive combination of horsemanship and skill from Africa’s top polo teams, including Ghana, Egypt, Uganda, Zimbabwe, Nigeria, Kenya and a number of South African teams. It promises to be a world-class event, full of action-packed polo.
Captain of the Ghana Polistas, Harold Awuah-Darko will lead the 2014 Land Rover Africa Cup Champions, as they face-off against nine other competitive sides for the 2015 title.
A new addition to the Ghanian team is Zompie Tsotetsi who has graduated from the player development programme in the Free State and is now playing off a handicap of (1) goal. Zompie joined the Inanda Polo Academy in 2014 as an assistant coach to Polo Director, Craig James.
This year’s tournament will feature numerous professional players and will include Ugandan representative, Uday Kumar Singh Kalaam. Kalaam, a handicap of (4), spent more than 15 seasons playing in major high-goal tournaments, and captained India against Pakistan in the South Asia Games (SAF) Polo Championship. He also starred in the 1995 Polo World Cup squad. The EFG Uganda Polo Team is Captained by Maanan Madhvani.
One of the local teams starring in the tournament is the Shimmy Beach Polo Team, captained by LeRoux Hendriks, a 5 goal handicap. The 29-year-old began his polo career at an early age and he represented South Africa while competing in countries across Europe, Asia, and the Americas. He has also competed in many prestigious polo tournaments around the world including The British Gold Cup, Indian Empire Shield, and Italian Snow Polo Gold Cup.
Another star player to watch is Kenyan Rover’s, Brad MacGibbon – (5) goal handicap player, who is no stranger to this tournament. His team won the first Africa Cup tournament hosted in the early 2000s. He has since represented South Africa on numerous occasions in both outdoor and arena polo.
Galia Dviri with a (-1) goal handicap of South African Team, Optima Polo, is one of the patron lady players participating in this year’s event, spearheading a quiet revolution across the field of this male dominated sport. She has participated in polo since the age of five.
With each team consisting of four players requiring a minimum of six ponies per player, polo is a seriously expensive sport – especially for the continental players. Team Nigeria, sponsored by Airbus Helicopters, alongside professional player and coach, Craig James, who boasts a (3) goal handicap, sees them taking on the competitive field of talented African teams.
Wearing Land Rover colours are internationally ranked players, including Campbell Macnab who captained the South African 14 goal side at the 2011 World Cup held in Malaysia. Macnab who is also one of South Africa’s top umpires, is joined by JP Rey (1) goal player, Ian Stewart (2) goal player, and Kevin Latter (0) goal player.
Development polo has always been an important consideration for the Land Rover Africa Cup, and it will come to the fore on the final day, Sunday 16 August when talented and aspirant player Mzi Ngobese (-1) goal handicap plays alongside Andrew Dewar (0) of South African team, Rockwood. Player development allows aspirant players to flourish as professionals, changing the perceptions that polo is an elitist sport.
The Egyptian Team captained by Aly Kashef (2) goal player is one of the tournament’s highest total handicap playing teams – watch the action!
“2015 promises to be a feather in our cap in hosting this unique polo event with world-class polo players showcasing their skill on thoroughbred, competitive polo ponies.” says Craig James, Polo Director – Inanda Club.
On the final day of the Land Rover Africa Cup, Sunday 16 August, gates open at 10am. The final game is set to be played at 3:30pm, and guests can look forward to an entire day of action and skill on horseback, with highlights in the traditions of polo such as stomping the divots and the tournament’s signature Horse vs Machine race with the day’s Best Polo Pony going head-to-head with the fastest ever Land Rover, the Range Rover Sport SVR.
“We really look forward to our second year as the sponsor of the Land Rover Africa Cup, and our continued involvement with this quintessentially British sport,” says Lisa Mallett, Marketing and Communications Director of Jaguar Land Rover South Africa and sub-Sahara Africa. “Joining Africa’s best polo players and ponies will be some of our newest Land Rover products – including the Land Rover Discovery Sport and our mightiest model yet, the Range Rover Sport SVR.”